The convenience of picking up a pack of cigarettes along with your prescription refill at your local CVS pharmacy will soon be going away.
CVS Caremark announced Wednesday it will stop selling all tobacco products, including cigarettes, at its more than 7,600 CVS/pharmacy locations across the United States by October of this year.
"Ending the sale of cigarettes and tobacco products at CVS/pharmacy is the right thing for us to do for our customers and our company to help people on their path to better health," Larry J. Merlo, president and CEO of CVS Caremark, said in a statement released Wednesday. "Put simply, the sale of tobacco products is inconsistent with our purpose."
The nation's largest pharmacy chain says it will be the first national drug store to discontinue the sale of tobacco products, and it remains unknown whether other big retailers in the industry will follow suit. But what we do know is that a lot of people are commending the company's move toward a healthier America.
Among other health-related organizations, the American Cancer Society is praising the company's decision, and even President Obama has chimed in, applauding CVS' effort to encourage Americans to live a healthier lifestyle.
"This is an important, bold public health decision by a major retail pharmacy to act on the long understood reality that blending providing health care and providing cigarettes just doesn't match," said American Cancer Society's Chief Cancer Control Officer Dr. Richard Wender.
In a statement released Wednesday, Obama said this major decision will help his administration in its efforts to reduce tobacco-related health issues in the U.S.
"As one of the largest retailers and pharmacies in America, CVS Caremark sets a powerful example, and today's decision will help advance my administration's efforts to reduce tobacco-related deaths, cancer, and heart disease, as well as bring down health care costs -- ultimately saving lives and protecting untold numbers of families from pain and heartbreak for years to come," Obama said in a statement Wednesday.
When Walgreens representatives were asked about the company's reaction to CVS' announcement, and whether the company plans to make the same move, a spokesman said they have been considering changes and will continue to educate their customers on the dangers of smoking.
According to a Walgreens company statement, "We have been evaluating this product category for some time to balance the choices our customers expect from us, with their ongoing health needs. We will continue to evaluate the choice of products our customers want, while also helping to educate them and providing smoking cessation products and alternatives that help to reduce the demand for tobacco products."
First Lady Michelle Obama jumped into the conversation on Twitter Wednesday morning and got straight to the point.
Thanks @CVS_Extra, now we can all breathe a little easier, and our families can live healthier. –mo
— FLOTUS (@FLOTUS) February 5, 2014